Hmm you think, “What a strange topic for Rachel to write about.” “Not at all,” I say. Because there is so much more to cosmetics than meets the eye. I love perusing cosmetics for so many reasons. And what I mean by cosmetics is anything that would be roughly categorized as health and beauty products in market research parlance. I love creams, lotions, potions, for face and body and hair. I love make-up too, though I use makeup so little that I don’t get to buy make-up that often. Or I should say I have less of a reason to buy makeup though I do find a way to shop for make-up anyway. I love everything about all cosmetics.
So let’s talk about creams. Here is my ode to creams. Well what’s not to love about silky and smooth and caressing and dreamy creams? Maybe they will make you younger—not too likely—maybe they will improve the glow of your skin—possibly when they first are applied. But really who cares if they have no miraculous properties as long as I get to experience smoothing on the lotion or potion over my skin. It’s sensual, it’s self-care, it’s self love so I say go ahead and enjoy the process. Surprise—I love the texture of lotions (as I love the texture of everything—see Texture is essential).
And don’t forget fragrance! I love sniffing the bottles of hair care products because I love their fragrance. I love lotions and creams and even make-up because of their scent. Some of my most vivid memories are of the smell of lipstick. There are certain brands (including Maybelline) that have scents that take me back to childhood when I played with my mom’s make-up. And I love another brand of lipsticks (L’Oreal) because of a friend in college who wore that brand religiously (and she even handed down to me some shades that she didn’t like on her). Now that I think of it I also fell in love with a tinted face lotion (Ultima) because that same friend wore it and gave me a bottle (it’s been gone for years and unfortunately the brand is no longer available in the US—even abroad the product I love isn’t made anymore). It goes without saying that I love to shop for perfume.
But really, do I love shopping for the face and body stuff just because I am anticipating how it will feel on my skin or how it makes me smell? Those are fine reasons, but not the only reasons. I love shopping for beauty products because I adore the experience of looking at all the shapes and sizes and pretty containers. I love cosmetic packaging! Their packaging? Yes, I love design and I particularly love the design of cosmetics and make-up. These days, designers have gone bonkers with amazing designs for perfume.
When it comes to face creams, I love jars more than bottles. Then think about all the various shapes of make-up—wands, sticks, round mirrored compacts, brushes, blushes, pots of gloss or balms. They are all so wonderful. Maybe they are made out of glass and have a nice heft to them. Or perhaps they have cool mechanical details like the Avon lipstick that opens with one hand (no longer available) or the Guerlain Rouge G lipstick that has a beautiful mirror built in. Don’t forget the great packaging of YSL Rouge Volupte. Or maybe they are really shiny packaging, or maybe the makeup is just adorable like everything from Paul & Joe including the one that got away—anything in their 2012 cat collection. I love the packaging of Soap & Glory, Benefit, Too Faced. What beautiful packaging!
Part of the thrill of shopping for cosmetics is seeing how much I can reduce the cost with using manufacturer coupons, and store coupons and any other kind of special pricing. I am a bargain shopper for sure. But probably the best part of shopping for cosmetics is that I can go to any store to find them. Yes, it can be fun to go to a department store for the upscale products or Sephora for a total immersion experience. But most of all I love visiting drugstores like CVS, Rite-Aide, Target or Walgreens that can be found anywhere and everywhere.
I have been known to stop at a drugstore in just about every city I have visited on business. I will go up and down the aisles and look at cosmetics for hours (even if I don’t plan to buy anything). In foreign countries, I find that some of the best souvenirs are international cosmetics like those found at Monoprix in Paris and Boots in London (though now you can get Boots products at Target in the US). I still have a beautiful bottle of Rose Water from Prisunic (Prisunic was acquired by Monoprix and no longer exists). So I suggest the next time you are in a drugstore, take a look at all the fabulous cosmetics. Maybe you will see the beauty of cosmetics as I do!